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Comics I Bought 29 October 2009

Five-week months with lots of comics shouldn’t be allowed – too many comic books. I thought things would wind down in a fifth week, because I thought books would be scheduled for specific weeks in a month. Looks like I was wrong.

Ambush Bug: Year None #7
The previous issue in this six-issue mini-series was issue #5 and came out in December 2008. The reasons for issue #6 never being published, and the delay for the final issue, are still unexplained. So how does the final issue wrap things up if it isn’t the original version? Well, it still knows funny, as the cover suggests, as does the title: ‘Whatever Happened To Ambush Bug: Year None #6?’ The art is provided mostly by Baltazar and Franco, which is cartoony but with some weight, which adds to the surreal story as a nameless character investigates what happens to the missing issue. Importantly, it’s very funny, with lots of digs at everybody and everything at DC. It was certainly the best issue of the series, so perhaps adversity provided impetus.

Astro City: Astra Special #2
In which we see Astra showing her boyfriend what her life is like in the cosmic scheme of things and what it means, before a betrayal I didn’t see coming. This was a really good issue (I still don’t like Brent Anderson’s art), capturing everything I love about Astro City in these two specials which I haven’t felt from the books during the Dark Age saga, even though I’ve been mostly enjoying it. I look forward to Kurt Busiek coming back to this sort of material in the future.

Detective Comics #858
In which we start the origin story for Kate Kane, and discover she was a twin and the terrible turn of events when Kate, her twin and mother are kidnapped. The story is solid, but the art is amazing, with JH Williams doing two distinct styles for the ‘twenty years ago’ material and the modern stuff. He continues to impress with every issue. The Question Second Feature sees a resolution to the people trafficking story – because this is a comic book, we get a happy ending to a grim concept, but we need that in entertainment to make up for the harsh reality.

Fantastic Four #572 (and belatedly Fantastic Four #570 and #571)
I was aware of Jonathan Hickman’s work through blog reading – I haven’t read The Nightly News or Pax Romana yet, but I must get round to it after reading these books because they must be great because this is awesome. I was persuaded to try this book via Chris Sims’ unbridled enthusiasm for it on the War Rocket Ajax podcast, and I’m glad I did. This is, strictly speaking, a Reed Richards story and not a Fantastic Four story but that can be forgiven when it’s such a cracker – it’s a bit strange to choose a solo tale for the first story of a new writer but Hickman showed he could write the Fantastic Four as a family in the Dark Reign mini-series, so he gets the leeway to try something focussing on the most interesting character in the group. Having Reed Richards meeting other Reed Richards from the multiverse is a fantastic concept and Hickman runs with it and tells an emotional story along with it. These three issues put a bold stamp of authority from a new writer and I’m glad to be along for the ride. A quick note about the art from Dale Eaglesham: he’s a good artist and he handles the cosmic and family stuff; however, I must join the throng who said he draws Reed far too muscularly – I know he can stretch but not like that.

Ignition City #5
In which we get a conclusion, of sort, to this five-issue mini-series, as Mary Raven gets to avenge the death of her father, the space hero Rock Raven, in Ignition City. There is ‘gun-fucking’, exploding bodies, and a huge reveal about the reason behind Ignition City. After what I thought was a clunky first issue, this series turned into a real cracker and I’d love for Ellis to return to this world and tell more stories; he described it as ‘Flash Gordon meets Deadwood’ and he was right and hints at how much he loved doing it.

X-Factor #50
We finally reach issue 50 and the end of the seemingly never-ending story that Peter David has been telling for the best part of a year. In that respect, I’m happy that we have a resolution; however, it seemed the entire point of the story was to explain Layla, which rather annoyed me. I’m sure David thought it was clever, creating the loop back to the beginning of X-Factor #1 (this volume, at least), but I preferred Layla without an explanation for why ‘she knows stuff’. And she now has a different power as well. It didn’t work for me, and I hope that we can move on from it quickly. In fact, I preferred the preview of the next issue of the renumbered X-Factor – it was very funny and seemed to have a more enjoyable story to it. I’m so ungrateful, aren’t I?

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